West Yorkshire 2016Read more about West Yorkshire
This is HMIC’s third PEEL (police effectiveness, efficiency and legitimacy) assessment of West Yorkshire Police. PEEL is designed to give the public information about how their local police force is performing in several important areas, in a way that is comparable both across England and Wales, and year on year. The assessment is updated throughout the year with our inspection findings and reports.
The extent to which the force is effective at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which the force is efficient at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
The extent to which the force is legitimate at keeping people safe and reducing crime is good.
Michael Cunningham, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary
I am very pleased with the overall performance of West Yorkshire Police.
I am particularly pleased with the improvements West Yorkshire Police has made in how it protects vulnerable people and supports victims.
The force has increased the number of staff dedicated to safeguarding vulnerable victims and, through its training programmes, raised the workforce’s awareness of vulnerability and its role in safeguarding children, young people and vulnerable adults.
I am also pleased with how the force has improved its approach to investigating crime. It is good in its first response, preserving and collecting evidence effectively.
I am impressed with the progress the force has made in increasing the capacity and capability to deal with crimes that are conducted using new technology, and it has worked hard to improve the service it offers victims.
West Yorkshire Police is good at protecting the public from the most prolific, serious and dangerous offenders. Its integrated offender management scheme is well managed, and I am reassured by the force’s plans for managing registered sex offenders, perpetrators of domestic abuse and organised criminals.
However, I have some concerns about West Yorkshire Police’s approach to neighbourhood policing. The force engages differently with the public in different localities and, as a result, cannot be confident in its understanding of the issues that cause the greatest concern to the people of West Yorkshire. The force also needs to adopt a more consistent approach to problem solving, which includes sharing evaluations of its initiatives.
West Yorkshire Police is good at tackling serious and organised crime. I am pleased with its improved response to newer threats such as human trafficking and child sexual exploitation. The force targets the most harmful organised crime groups in a variety of ways, including prosecuting group members and making it harder for the groups to operate or legitimise their gains. It is particularly effective at providing preventative education to divert people away from this type of criminality. The force has a good understanding of the risks to the people of West Yorkshire, which would be improved if more information from partner organisations was included.
West Yorkshire Police has a good understanding of the current demands for its services. The force is working with partner organisations to determine what the future demands facing each organisation are likely to be, including from so-called hidden demands such as internet crime. The force’s understanding of demand has informed the development of its workforce model and has helped to identify gaps in the capability and the capacity of its workforce. It is recruiting officers and staff with the knowledge and skills that will be needed in the future.
I am pleased with the force’s sound financial plans and rigorous financial controls, which have allowed it to make savings and investments in future efficiencies. For example, West Yorkshire Police has made a substantial investment in technology: it has equipped its officers and staff with mobile data terminals, which allows them to spend more time in public and to work at remote locations, such as in the buildings of partner organisations.
The force uses a variety of different techniques to seek feedback from the people of West Yorkshire, including from those who may be less forthcoming in expressing their views.
West Yorkshire Police’s vision and values are clear and well understood by the workforce, and it has effective vetting processes for its workforce and volunteers. However, the force could do more to encourage the workforce to learn from examples where conduct has fallen below expected standards.
I am reassured that the force supports the well-being of the workforce and makes early interventions to prevent deteriorations in well-being.
In summary, the force provides a good level of service to the people of West Yorkshire. I am pleased that it has maintained its performance since my previous assessment.
West Yorkshire Police provides policing services to the county of West Yorkshire. West Yorkshire has a high level of poverty, although there are a number of more affluent areas. The force area is home to around 2.3 million people, who mainly live in the urban conurbation which includes the cities of Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford, as well as several large towns surrounded by rural areas.
The resident population is ethnically diverse, with 18 percent from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, and is increased by the very large number of university students and of those who visit, socialise in, commute into, or travel through the area each year. The transport infrastructure includes 101 miles of motorway and trunk roads, major rail stations and an airport.
The proportion of areas in West Yorkshire that are predicted (on the basis of detailed economic and demographic analysis) to present a very high challenge to the police is broadly in line with the national average. The most challenging areas are generally characterised by a high concentration of people living, working, socialising, or travelling in the area.
Features that both cause and/or indicate a concentration of people include the number of commercial premises, including licensed premises and fast-food premises, public transport, and social deprivation. In some areas, these features are combined.
In June 2016, Jo Cox MP was killed, which resulted in a high-profile murder investigation.
West Yorkshire Police collaborates with other police forces in the Yorkshire and Humber region to provide a range of specialist policing services. West Yorkshire is the lead force for the regional scientific support unit, the regional organised crime unit and the regional asset recovery team that are provided collaboratively. The force also leads nationally on the National Police Air Service.
In November 2016, the appointment of the Chief Constable, who had been covering the role temporarily since June 2014, was made permanent.
Looking ahead to 2017
In the year ahead, I will be interested to see how West Yorkshire Police responds to this assessment and to the areas for improvement that HMIC identified last year.
I will be particularly interested to see how the force improves the consistency of its approach to neighbourhood policing.
How effective is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
West Yorkshire Police is good at keeping people safe and reducing crime. Our overall judgment this year is the same as last year, when we judged the force to be good in respect of effectiveness. The force has an effective approach to investigating crime and reducing re-offending, protecting those who are vulnerable from harm and supporting victims, and tackling serious and organised crime. However, improvements are needed in how the force prevents crime and tackles anti-social behaviour.
West Yorkshire Police’s overall effectiveness at keeping people safe and reducing crime has been assessed as good. However, improvements are needed in how the force prevents crime and tackles anti-social behaviour. The force has a good understanding of strategic threats but at a local level it lacks the means to understand its changing and emerging communities. The force accepts that its current practices around problem solving are poorly structured. This is an area for improvement which the force is seeking to address.
The force is good at providing an initial investigative response. The control room ensures evidence is collected and preserved effectively. Much progress had been made around the capacity and capability of the high-tech crime unit. The force has worked hard to improve the service it offers victims, in particular being compliant with the Code of Practice for Victims of Crime. The importance that the force attaches to the code is evident from all the staff we spoke to during the inspection, along with robust monitoring arrangements.
The force has made good progress in protecting those who are vulnerable from harm, and supporting victims with an increase in staff dedicated to safeguarding vulnerable victims. Comprehensive training has been put in place across the force to improve knowledge, skills and awareness around vulnerability and investigatory practices. West Yorkshire Police has a good understanding of the nature and scale of vulnerability in its local area.
West Yorkshire Police is good at tackling serious and organised crime. It is improving its response to newer organised crime threats such as human trafficking, cyber-crime and child sexual exploitation.
The force has effective specialist capabilities and has good plans in place to mobilise in response to the threats set out in the Strategic Policing Requirement (PDF document).
How efficient is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
West Yorkshire Police has been assessed as good in respect of the efficiency with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime. The force has a good understanding of all of the current demand for its services. It also has a developing understanding of future demand, and has plans in place as to how it will understand and manage likely future demand better. The force is improving both the capability and the capacity of its workforce and makes good use of its resources to manage current demand. The force has sound financial plans in place to ensure its investments deliver benefits in terms of both efficiencies and savings.
HMIC found West Yorkshire Police to have a good understanding of all of the current demand for its services. It also has a developing understanding of future demand, with the force having plans in place for how it will understand and manage likely future demand better. The force is working well with partners to determine what the future demand for service will be from its communities and is working to meet those needs. The force uses survey information at local levels to identify changes in public expectations and set clear priorities. The force has a good workforce model which meets its current demand, with a new shift system launched earlier this year and an increase in resources for the protection of vulnerable people within the community. This means that the force is able to meet the current demand and is able to provide those services which the public expects.
The force is improving both the capability and the capacity of its workforce. It is recruiting new police officers and police staff with the right skills to tackle the workforce gaps which have been identified. West Yorkshire Police has significant investment in the digitalisation of the force. The use of mobile data terminals by all of its frontline officers and staff means that they are more visible to the communities and visit police premises less. The force has a well-developed programme for officers and staff to work in an agile way using technology and the ability to work at remote locations, such as the buildings of other organisations, to support efficiencies and the productivity of its staff. The force has robust ways of doing business, through its change programme, to make efficiencies and to ensure that benefits are tracked and are realised. The force has sound financial plans to ensure that its investments are planned to produce both efficiencies and savings. Through working collaboratively with other forces, a number of operational services in West Yorkshire Police, such as its forensic science provision, have made significant efficiencies and produced savings for the force. HMIC found the force to be good at keeping people safe and reducing crime.
How legitimate is the force at keeping people safe and reducing crime?
West Yorkshire Police has been assessed as good in respect of the legitimacy with which it keeps people safe and reduces crime.
West Yorkshire Police is good in its external fairness and respect, ethical and lawful behaviour, and its internal fairness and respect. The culture of the force reflects this through fair and respectful treatment of people, and ethical, lawful approaches to integrity. The organisation’s fair and respectful treatment of its workforce and concern for their welfare and wellbeing also demonstrates this. Senior leaders actively promote the force’s values, and staff are positive about the force’s culture.
West Yorkshire Police shows that it understands the importance of treating people fairly through its stated purpose and values, which are in line with the Code of Ethics. These are included in training, and are part of everyday practice. The force seeks feedback and challenge from the communities it serves through surveys, scrutiny panels and independent advisory groups (IAGs), which work with support networks and charities to encourage those who have become disengaged or are less likely to complain to provide valuable feedback.
The force strives to make sure that its workforce behaves ethically and lawfully, by effectively vetting new recruits and developing a culture within which officers and staff know the standards expected of them. The force could do more to make sure that its workforce learns from examples where conduct has fallen below these standards.
West Yorkshire Police uses both formal and informal methods to work with and seek challenge from its workforce to identify issues of fair and respectful treatment. These include a staff survey and established business change processes that involve meaningful consultation with officers and staff on issues which affect them.
The force demonstrates an understanding of and commitment to the wellbeing of its workforce – including mental health issues – through effective governance, assessment and training, and evidence of early intervention to stop wellbeing issues from escalating.
Staff have an annual personal development review (referred to as PDR), with periodic meetings with line managers throughout the year; the process enables the force to deal effectively with poor performance, and to recognise and develop positive performance.
How well has the force performed in our other inspections?
In addition to the three core PEEL pillars, HMICFRS carries out inspections of a wide range of policing activity throughout the year. Some of these are conducted alongside the PEEL inspections; others are joint inspections.
Findings from these inspections are published separately to the main PEEL reports, but are taken into account when producing the rounded assessment of each force's performance.
Police leadership is crucial in enabling a force to be effective, efficient and legitimate. This inspection focused on how a force understands, develops and displays leadership through its organisational development.
West Yorkshire Police has engaged effectively with its workforce to create leadership expectations that are clearly defined at all levels. The force has also taken steps to develop a culture in which officers and staff are encouraged to question the leadership expectations. During our inspection HMIC found that police staff and officers feel that they are able to challenge and question supervisors and leaders. However, more could be done to ensure there is a more developed understanding of the leadership expectations across every rank and grade. For the force to progress it should do more to develop a detailed understanding of the level of commitment that the workforce has to the expectations. The force has a clear rationale for the techniques it uses to understand the relative strengths of its leadership. It has also used recruitment to address capability gaps. This understanding could, however, be used more effectively to ensure that its leadership development, and its recruitment programmes, are correctly targeted. However, HMIC welcomes the broad range of approaches the force uses in developing leadership through its well-established development and talent programmes.
HMIC also welcomes the way the force actively searches for new ideas and methods not only in the police service, but also further afield. The force has forged strong links with local academic institutions and regularly evaluates innovations and ways of doing things in other police forces to ensure that it exploits any potential opportunities it identifies. Officers and staff perceive that the force is innovative and reported that they can suggest new ideas and methods easily.
The force’s understanding of diversity extends beyond protected characteristics such as age, disability, or gender reassignment, and it is working to ensure that it has diverse teams. It acknowledges the way in which diversity of background, experience and skills can strengthen teams. These factors are considered when creating teams throughout the force. It also has a number of significant measures in place to ensure that its practices, such as those for recruitment and selection, are free from bias, and are evidence-based.
This section sets out the reports published by HMIC this year that help to better understand the performance of West Yorkshire Police.